Upgrade Plans for Heathrow Fly into the Distance as Ministers Stay Firmly Grounded.

Feb 1st, 2012 | By | Category: Featured London Article

All avid tourists know that travelling by air can be a huge hassle; airport queues, lost luggage, stripping to various states of undress as you approach security, are just some of the annoyances travellers face. None know this more so than the passengers embroiled in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 fiasco, when many were stranded with no idea of when and if planes would arrive. Built to handle over 35 million visitors a year, its initial failure was a great source of disappointment and shame for the UK. With millions of business and leisure tourists visiting every year, the problem of air capacity in the UK is an ongoing one, with no clear answer, but it seems that the government is opposed to one of the more realistic plans to make travelling to London a bit less tiresome.

 

There have been many plans to try to cope with London airport congestion, from as early as 1966 when Stansted Airport was developed for commercial use from a military base. In recent years, London Mayor Boris Johnson has posited plans for a floating island airport in the Thames Estuary, but at a cost of £50 billion in the midst of a recession, for the moment, the air crisis is stagnating. Another suggestion to alleviate the problem is to build a third runway at Heathrow, allowing for more planes and passengers to pass through the terminal. Of all the suggestions this seems the most feasible, however ‘coalition’ ministers have ruled out the idea and have found much opposition accusing them of being unwilling to consider ‘politically difficult solutions’.

 

The runway would be a boost to the UK’s economy with both leisure and tourist travellers and would undoubtedly be beneficial. London First, a lobby group representing some of London’s biggest business leaders has even branded the government ‘negligent’ for dismissing the plans, but ministers remain vague about the best way forward, saying they are ‘exploring all options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status’. For now it seems that air travel will still be fraught with delays and congestion, although Boris Johnson’s plans appear to be gaining some momentum, so hopefully the island airport will emerge before we reach our predicted bursting point in 2030.

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